Bamburgh is a small village situated in rural Northumberland on the North Sea Situated about half way between Berwick upon Tweed and Alnwick Bamburgh is 42 miles from Newcastle. Bamburgh has one of the most beautiful beaches in the u.k. It is a favourite destination for my family and somewhere we visit regularly.
How to get there.
I am not going to go into great detail giving you directions as these can be obtained via the AA route finder. However Bamburgh is 42 miles from Newcastle. Follow the A1 and turn of at Adderstone. Take the scenic B1341 into Bamburgh.
It is possible to get to Bamburgh by train. The nearest station is at Chathill. There is also a bus service to Bamburgh from both Alnwick and Berwick.
What is there to do and see?
Bamburgh is a small rural village. Its claim to fame is its stunning, unspoilt beach and its imposing castle. It is surrounded by beautiful Northumbrian countryside and for me is as near perfect as any beach can be. If you are looking for fun fairs, shops and restaurants then Bamburgh is not the place for you.
On arrival you will see the huge castle dominating the village. I suggest you take the small road named the Wyndings and follow it to the sand dunes at the end. There is limited parking amongst the dunes but we have always managed to park here even in the summer. Parking is free. If there is no space here then drive the short distance to the well signed car park where there are many more spaces. There is also a toilet block at the car park with free toilets! The toilets in the village cost 20p!
From either car park the beach is right in front of you! I prefer to park in the smaller area via the Wyndings.From here walk through the dunes and down onto the beach. In the summer it is wonderful to walk along the beach and find a quiet spot to picnic. I am always overwhelmed by the vastness of the beach streaking away into the distance. Looking inland the landscape is dominated by the enormous castle. Looking out to sea are the Farne Islands and the Holy Island.
One of the nicest things to do in Bamburgh is to walk the length of the beach to the fishing town of Seahouses about 3 miles away. From Seahouses you can take a boat trip out to the Farne Islands to see the seals. There is a good bus service from Seahouses back to Bamburgh if you dont fancy the walk back!
In the summer my children like to play in the sea. Bamburgh often has big waves and jumping them is great fun. Be aware the Bamburgh has no lifeguard so you will need to keep a close eye on your children. We have wet suits too to protect not only from the cold but any jellyfish too! Jellyfish are often seen washed up on the beach especially if there has been a storm out to sea.
As a family we are very happy just to enjoy the beach. My children have made some amazing sand structures at Bamburgh! However this is the north east and the weather can be awful!
Bamburgh castle is open all year. It stands on a massive 180-foot high basalt crag. There has been a castle on this site since 900 .The first stone castle was built by the Normans in the 12th century. The castle seen at Bamburgh today was extensively restored in the 1700s by lord Crewe. To-day Bamburgh castle is the home of the Armstrong family. The castle is not my favourite castle and I think its a bit disappointing on the inside. There are 16 rooms to view but many contain 17th century furniture and family pictures and lots of china. My children do like the armour and arms though! There are spectacular views from the ramparts and there are cannons for the children to play with!
If you fancy looking around castle then a ticket will cost you £6.50 (adult) and £2.50 for a child. The castle is only partially accessible for those with a disability. Wheelchair uses are admitted free of charge. There is a shop and café in the castle but both are expensive and not that inspiring!
Grace Darling was born in Bamburgh in 1815. She lived for several years in the lighthouse on the Farne Islands where her father was the lighthouse keeper. In 1838 during a storm Grace helped her father rescue 9 men from the stricken S.S Forfarshire. The weather was too rough to use the lifeboat so the pair took a rowing boat and braved the storm to row 2 miles to rescue the men.
There is now a museum in Bamburgh at no 1 Radclife road dedicated to Grace Darling. The museum is currently being refurbished and is due to open in December. Hopefully the new museum will contain everything that the old one had and more. The boat used for the rescue can be seen along with many of Graces personal things. There is the logbook for the lighthouse that makes for interesting reading. My children like hearing about grace and having looked out toward the Farne Islands during a storm they can well imagine how brave she was!
Also worth a look is the beautiful church of St Aidan.The church is open every day from 9 am until dusk. The original church dates back to 635 AD. When St Aiden came to Lindisfarne (holy Island) from Iona. The present church dates from the 13th century. There is an effigy of Grace Darling in the north aisle.
If you fancy a game of tennis then there are a few out door courts. The key is kept at the castle hotel on the main street, you cant miss it! It costs £5 for an hour.
Although Bamburgh is only a very small village it has several hotels, self-catering properties and bed and breakfast facilities. We have never stayed in any of them so cant give you a recommendation. The best thing to do is visit the excellent community website at www.bamburgh.org.uk where you will find details of what accommodation is available. In the summer there are several campsites nearby and all set in lovely countryside if you dont mind braving the changeable weather!
The area around Bamburgh is perfect for cycling and walking. It is definitely worth investing in an ordinance survey map showing all the paths.
Bamburgh has several cafes where you can get light snacks a cup of tea or there is the prestigious Lord Crewe arms hotel serving very expensive cuisine! I like the cooper kettle tearooms opposite the Wyndings.
Seahouses 3 miles away has many more shops and fish and chips!
As you will have guessed I love Bamburgh. I am even trying to persuade my family to have Christmas lunch, barbeque style, on the beach, sheltered by the dunes!
Bamburgh in Northumberland typifies most peoples ideas of an idyllic country escape. The village is located in one of the most breathtakingly beautiful coastal areas in England and its enormous white sandy beaches stretch for miles. In Anglo-Saxon times Northumbria was a mighty Kingdom and a formidable opponent. It started north of the River Humber past the River Sheaf at Sheffield, across the Pennines and through Carlisle to the Irish Sea, then northeast across country, through the Border Region and Edinburgh (known at the time as Edwin's Borough) as far as the Firth of Forth. The village was a natural fortification because of its massive rocky outcrop, and recent excavations by Newcastle University suggest that until as late as the 12th Century Bamburgh was actually an island linked to the mainland by a causeway. Founded in 547 by King Ida, the village became the seat of Northumbria. King Ida's grandson gave the village to his wife Bebba and it became known as Bebbanburgh, later to become Bamburgh. About a century later it was the seat of the Northumbrian King Oswald, who built a fortification on the rocky outcrop, and this became the base for his Celtic Mission on Iona to develop Christianity. Aidan and the Irish monks led Oswald's mission. In the 12th Century a magnificent castle was built on the rocky outcrop where Oswald's fortification had stood. Today the castle dominates the village and towers over the sea; it was built using magnificent red sand stone and is indeed an impressive sight. It has been the home of the Lords Armstrong since the 19th Century and is open to the public during the summer season. Bamburgh Castle is one of the most recognised landmarks in Britain and a major attraction for visitors to the village. Visitors can not fail to be impressed by the stunning mix of the medieval castle and stately home although only a few of them will actually be aware of the great historical assoc
iation the castle site has with the history of the northern region (and that's another opinion). Bamburgh and York were the two most important centres in Anglo Saxon Northumbria. Other interesting places to visit in Bamburgh are the Grace Darling Museum, the museum commemorates the life and times of undoubtedly the world's greatest lifeboat heroine, her fame is due to a single act of courage. In 1838 the paddle steamer 'Forfarshire' was wrecked on the Farne Islands across from Bamburgh and Grace Darling and her father rescued nine men in a small rowing boat. The Museum can be found in a small cottage near the village green and is looked after by the RNLI. St. Aidan's church stands across the road from the Museum, the church was built on the site where Aidan died. Grace Darling was buried in the graveyard and her memorial is of interest to visitors, she was buried facing out to sea so she could forever watch over the brutal coastline. History is not the only claim to fame that Bamburgh has. There are miles of sandy beaches for those who like to walk, or just sit and watch the world go by. The relatively quite roads make cycling a pleasant prospect and bike hire is available in the village. Bamburgh, Seahouses and many of the other villages up and down the coast have excellent golf courses. There is also the stunning picturesque coastline. Bambrugh boasts one of the finest beaches in England with its vast expanse of fine sands at low tide - stretching down the coast to Seahouses and a few miles up the coast to Budle Bay, a world renowned bird-watchers paradise with many unusual and interesting species of waders. There are a number of good hotels and guesthouses in the village along with tearooms and shops catering for both local needs and those of visitors. I have always only been a day visitor to Bamburgh so I could not really recommend a place to stay, but they all look well kept and comfortable.
Under the shadow of the castle in Front Street is a row of stone built cottages and nestling in the centre is The Copper Kettle Tea-room, now recognised as one of the finest tearooms in the UK. It is very cosy and captures the atmosphere of the traditional English tearoom. Hand carved oak panels complement the beams in the ceiling from which hang a collection of original copper kettles. The patio garden provides a colourful suntrap for sun worshipers. Bamburgh is one of the most popular tourist sites in the North East of England. With its tranquil rural setting, just off the beaten track off the busy A1 trunk road it is an ideal base for visitors who want to explore the region. Towns and villages such as Berwick, Anlwick, Warkworth, Amble and Rothbury are all easily accessible as are the Borders of Scotland. Take the short drive down the coast to Seahouses for a trip across to the Farne Isles or go a little way up the coast and drive over the causeway to Lindisfarne. If you are thinking about a golfing, bird watching, touring, historical or just relaxing break in the North of England there are numerous lovely little villages with very reasonably priced accommodation but not many have as much to offer as Bamburgh.